The U-Med district continues to grow with the area’s newest project: the Alaska Pacific Medical Center, a 35,000-square-foot structural steel brace frame core and shell building. The design-build team, led by Pfeffer Development, completed construction on the $15.5 million project this year.
“The building is on a ground lease on Alaska Pacific University Endowment Lands, which generates income to support the operation of the university,” said Bob O’Neill, director of project management at Pfeffer Development. “We were excited to help the university while also providing a great new location for medical practices in Anchorage.”
The Medical Center, which broke ground in March 2016, is the first project under an agreement between APU and U-Land LLC, the latter created solely to develop APU lands to create long-term income for the university.
Pfeffer Development chose Criterion General Inc. as the general contractor for its design-build team, asking Criterion to participate from the concept phase and throughout design- and cost-development stages and construction. KPB Architects was the architect for the project.
“Criterion has been our design builder on a number of projects over the last several years,” O’Neill said. “Criterion has worked well with us to establish fixed budgets early in the design process. They then manage the design and construction process to meet those fixed budgets every time. Criterion has also met or bettered every project schedule to date. We continue to be impressed with Criterion’s on-time, on-budget delivery of high-quality buildings for us and our clients.”
“We establish a budget, we manage the project to the budget and we work hard to come in under,” Criterion president Dave DeRoberts said.
With the issue of available land solved under the APU/U-Land agreement, Criterion nevertheless faced a location-related problem. The site was known to straddle the edge of an old dumpsite, which was assumed to contain unsuitable fill and debris.
“We found concrete, asphalt and posts and netting of an old tennis court buried 22 feet, all of which had to be removed to install the foundation,” said DeRoberts. The debris had to be trucked to the landfill.
“Criterion was able to perform a geotechnical site investigation including soil borings, multiple test pits and trenches to clearly define the subsurface conditions very early in the design process,” O’Neill said.
“Excavating the complete dumpsite site wasn’t going to be cost-effective,” DeRoberts said. “We were able to slide the building as much as we could to limit the excavation, saving the owner that cost, ultimately.”
Criterion also worked to complete the building’s shell and the third-floor space a week ahead of schedule to allow the location’s anchor tenant, Denali OB-GYN Clinic, to move in before its lease at its previous location expired. The clinic was a full floor, 11,863-square-foot tenant improvement design by RIM Architects that includes 24 nurses’ stations, 20 exam rooms, two specialty exam rooms, two ultrasound rooms, a lab, sterilization, a conference room, a break room and energy-efficient mechanical and electric systems.
The first floor is leased, and 12,000 more square feet are available on the second.
“The building was designed to be a very efficient medical office building,” O’Neill said. “The sidewalks, drop-off area and handicapped parking spaces are heated for snow melt. Employee parking is located across the street so patients and their families can easily park close to the building entry.”
A glass lobby with seating areas and covered outdoor seating also allows for convenient patient pickup. The project includes exterior terracotta wall panels; high-performance, energy-efficient exterior glass; two elevators; and highly efficient, high-quality mechanical systems to maintain the comfort of patients and staff.
Additional team partners on this project included KPB Architects, DOWL engineering and Reid Middleton; design-build subcontractors included General Mechanical Inc. and Alcan Electrical & Engineering Inc. teaming with T3 Alaska LLC. Major subcontractors included BCX Excavating LLC, Slana Surveys, Alaska Steel Co., AGGPRO, Inline Steel Fabricators Inc., CoreBrace, Andy Milner Co., Rain Proof Roofing, Chinook Fire Protection Inc., Commercial Contractors Inc., Northwest Landscape Inc., Rep Tile, Ron Webb Paving Inc., Straightline, Statewide Door & Glass and Otis Elevator Co.
Jamey Bradbury is a freelance writer who lives in Anchorage.